Two-time world champion Max Verstappen is one of the hottest properties in F1 today, and is known for his raw talent, fearless driving style, and intense competitive spirit.
However, many fans have wondered about the significance of the number 33 on his car and whether Daniel Ricciardo had anything to do with it during their early association in the sport.
Let’s take a closer look at why Verstappen races with number 33.
In 2014, the rules regarding driver numbers were changed.
Until this period in the sport, numbers were simply assigned to drivers based on how the teams fared the previous season in the Constructors’ Championship.
In effect, the team that finished first in the standings would have its drivers race with numbers 1 and 2. The runners-up would use 3 and 4 and so on.
However, this rule changed in 2014, when drivers were allowed to use any number they liked between 2 and 99 before a season, with the number 1 being reserved as a pick for the winner of the previous season.
Given that Max Verstappen only entered the sport in 2015, he was never under any stipulation (barring picking a 3-digit number or one that was already in use by another driver) as far as his racing number was concerned.
How Ricciardo influenced Verstappen’s car number choice
The Dutchman wanted to use ‘3’ on his race car when he made his debut at the Australian Grand Prix for Toro Rosso.
However, this was already being used by Daniel Ricciardo.
Therefore, Max said he would use ’33’ as he wanted ‘double the luck‘ Ricciardo had enjoyed.
“Actually my favourite number is three but it was taken already by Daniel [Ricciardo], so I couldn’t have it but then also, I’ll just add another three behind it; its double luck,” said Verstappen.
Max now races with number 1
Following his first world championship triumph, albeit in controversial circumstances, Max decided to take up the FIA on its offer at use the number 1 on his car.
Prior to him doing this, the number 1 had not been used in the sport for a number of years.
World Champion 2022!!!— Max Verstappen (@Max33Verstappen) October 9, 2022
We’ve been absolutely on it, the whole year. A season where we had a difficult start but kept it cool, bounced back and never let go. pic.twitter.com/lRX9mj1siw
Lewis Hamilton had won a series of championships after the rule change in 2014, but always chose to stick to his 44 race car number.
In many ways, it has defined Hamilton’s branding in the sport, as the number 44 has become synonymous with his F1 career over the years.